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Chrysalis Adventures
Vanessa, Benny, and Carlotta! Part 1
Sun, Rain, Wind, Lightning, Thunder
06/20/2012, Huatulco

The day finally arrived and we were off to the airport to pick up Vanessa and Benny!! Yeah! We got to the airport early and waited for their arrival discussing how it wasn't very nice that it was raining on the day they got here. But they tell us it is the rainy season. The big difference between here and the Pacific Northwet (yes I know I forgot the s) is that even though you might be caought in the rain it's still very very warm. They finally arrived and off we went to sit and have lunch down on the beach so Ness could rela a bit before pur drive back to Huatulco. Grandpa took Benny down to the water's edge and he wasn't too thrilled about the water or the sand. Uh oh we thought and decided to wait for more introductions to ocean and sand after a good night sleep since they had been traveling since 1am. Needless to say Benny was out for the count once we got back into the car and took off. It's been 8 months since we have seen them so we all had lots to talk about on our ride the next 2 hours. Dave and I decided that we would get a hotel room the first couple days that they were here so they could acclimate. There is definitely a difference so we wanted to make it a gradual climatizing. We also rented a car with air conditioning. We had a pool and we all decided to take advantage once we checked in. Dave went to the casa to get the stroller,baby bed, and spiderman floaty for Benny.Nessa was going to take a nap but changed her mind once Benny and I were ready for his first visit to the pool. Mama just didn't want to miss out! This was the start of Vanessa and Benny getting on the retirement schedule. Since we had a late lunch we had a late dinner and we introduced Ness to Tacos Al Pastor. We found out Benny likes 'em too. The third day of their visit we moved back to the casa and decided to go hang at our Beach Club pool. Benny got the works that day....pool and the ocean and loving every minute of it. We ate at our favorite neighborhood taqueira that night and the owner invited Benny to her niece Nadia's 4th birthday party on Tuesday. Then a liitle girl eating dinner with her family came over and took Benny to their table where he entertained them all. He is quite the social butterfly. Monday we spent the day trying to fax a form to the bank at home since someone had been able to access our account from Mexico City and withdraw as much money as was allowed. The night before at 2am Dave and I were at the bank to withtdraw what was left before they tried again. (2 hr time difference from home). Good news is we will get the money back, bad news is my card was cancelled and Dave's is at home waiting to be sent to us. Thankfully we have another bank sitting on the sidelines and our friend Jane came through as the hero in our crisis! Tuesday we went to Entegra so that Dave and Ness could go snorkeling. Benny and I played a bit in the water then hung out in one of the local palapas while they played with the fish. This is the same place Dave and I had gone when I used the board with the window so I could "snorkel" too. Dave and Ness came back in for awhile and then took Benny out for more water time and he got his first taste of salt water, handled it like a trooper too. He is now officially a water baby. Dave and Ness went back out to snorkel some more and none of us thought to put sunscreen back on our little white girl.....yes she got burned, poor thing. We then raced home, changed our clothes and took off for the birthday bash. We actually were the first to arrive and we were late. Soon the place was filling up and the festivities began. The kids had three pinatas filled with candy and they even asked Benny to try, he's still a bit little so he just watched on the sidelines. While the kids were batting away at the pinatas the grown up family memebers passed out plates eith a sandwich and their version of a corn dog. They had already passed put jamica to drink. (a water made with flowers) Then they started passing out more plates and these had a chicken salad with tostada shells. And if that wasn't enough the cake soon came after that and Dave and I aren't big cake eaters but this was without a doubt one of the best cakes we have ever had. Just when we thought it was winding doen they brough out a huge boxlike cration filled with balloons. The sides were made of cellephane and the kids hit at it just like a pinata. Inside were colored balloons but the trick was to get one of the black balloons which there were only a couple. Insideof these black balloons was an extra treat for whoever was the lucky one to reach it first. But wait after that is all over the kids line up in separate lines for boy and girls and Nadia's mom passes out bags with more treats. She then walked pver to Benny and handed him his own bag. What a wonderful experience we had being included with this family! We of course ate all our food but we noticed that most families wrapped theirs up to take home. Nadia received lots of presents but the one thing that didn't happen was opening them at the party. I think this is a very respectful. This way the kids that can't afford extravagant gifts like some don't have to be embarassed by their gift being not quite as good as others. Wednesday we went to Copalita where they have a archaelogical ruins and a museum. When we got there a guy ws asking to be our tour guide and it was a bit more than we wanted to pay so Dave did the negotiating and we had our own private tour. Cornelia, our guide, proved to be well worth the money. He had a telescope and if we hadn't had him we would have missed out on seeing the pygmy owls, the toucan looking herons, the pink flamingo like birds and various other creatures. He was very thorough on his knowledge of the ruins and took very good care of us, even pushing Benny in his stroller once or twice. We were told by some other people that this place was just a bunch of rocks but we found it to be just the opposite. Of course if you aren't interested in history then it is just a pile of rocks. We went to the top of the cliff and had an incredible view of the Copaita river dumpng into the ocean and the surf pounding against the shore. Of course there was a storm brewing out there so the surf was more impressive than usual. Dave was keeping an eye on the weather as it was possible this storm could turn into a hurricane. June is rainy season in Hutaulco so it isn't unusual to have rain daily and we decided to continue our outings despite the rain. We were lucky during this outing that we had none. We left Copalita and decided to go to the Italian Coffee Company for a snack and one of their very close to Starbuck's frappucinos. In fact if you did a taste test you probably coudn't tell the difference. Stay tuned for part two or the rest of the story.

06/24/2012 | Vicky
Oh dear brother...I just LOVE seeing these pictures of you looking so very happy!!! So glad Vanessa & Benny were able to visit you.
Salina Cruz
Smoggy
05/31/2012, Arm Pit Mexico

Thought we'd take a trip down to Salina Cruz (uhg 'nuf said)! So we went to the bus station and bought our tickets for yet another adventure in this life of ours. While sitting at the bus station waiting for our bus the ground rumbled and people began scattering throughout the terminal. We thought a bus had hit the building but it was actually an eathquake, 4.2 on the richter scale. Kinda freaky I gotta tell you. Then it was over and people came back in and we all still waited for the bus. Have we mentioned that the roads are a little bit curvey and windy?? Some of you that know me well, and some of you that don't, know I have some trouble with motion sickness. Hence the sea sickness that follows me along the coast while on our boat. Well it happens on land too but never where I actually throw up, just get sick to my stomache and have to get out of the moving vehicle. Not going to happen on a bus though....so I threw up in a hankie (no bathroom on this bus) until Dave got the window open so I could spray paint the bus a new color. Thankfully it was only a 2 1/2 hr ride. Glad we hadn't decided to go to Oaxaca City which is an 8 hr ride! We arrived in Salina Cruz and were sadly disappointed in this Mexican town. Every town we have been to has had something to give it charm but sadly that is not the case here. We found a hotel and checked in. We thought it odd that the hotel staff had to lock and unlock the door each and everytime we left the hotel but after wandering around town we realized it was a good thing. We ate at Burger King, yep the same, and then went to our hotel for some air conditioning. It's hot in Huatulco but the heat in Salina Cruz with the refinery near by was oppressive. After a little air we decided to take a little stroll for ice cream. Instead we sat down at one of the sidewalk eateries and had a couple tacos, not the best, but we enjoyed speaking with a young couple who wanted to practice their English and helped us practice our Spanish. We opted to go buy an ice cream at the Oxxo (7-11) and went back to our air conditioned room and T.V. The following morning we got up and went and had a great breakfast in a little hole in the wall that the sign said breakfast in English. We were a little skeptical but it turned out to be one of the better places we've had breakfast. The only bright spot was The Italian Coffee Company where we enjoyed a frappucino that compared to Starbuck's. This is where we spent the rest of our time until returning to the bus station to go back "home" to Huatulco. Oh and we did buy some medication for my ride home so no throwing up on the way home, just a sleepy ride.

06/20/2012 | Doug AB5FG
Great Blog, Thanks for writing all this so we land lubbers can enjoy it with you. You are living a life I wouldn't even dream of living. Good to hear you on 20 Meters. I hope Solar cycle 24 showes up soon. 73 and 24. "Keep pumping the pump." (quote by swabby dave 2012) HI AB5FG
Hurricane Bud!
just black clouds and heavy rain
05/26/2012, Hualtuco (La Crucecita)

Well our first hurricane (Bud) turns out be to the earliest hurricane to EVER hit the east pacific (I've never been lucky). But thanks to good planning based on recommendations to be out of the water before the beginning of hurricane season we were totally safe. But it is a little errie to be this close to a hurricane, the locals say no worries. One has to wonder about the next one as this area gennerally has 6 a year!

05/27/2012 | regina and bob
well this must be like a dream come truh
Hanging with the Locals
getting even hotter
05/16/2012, Hualtuco (La Crucecita)

We have been here now for a little over two weeks. In that time we have rented an apartment, had a house warming party with our landlords and all of their family (fun, little english), got most of our stuff off the boat so it won't mildrew when the rain hits (and to make it easy to keep spraying for bugs as well as do work on the boat). We went to the "river" with our landlords and lots of family. Some locals washed clothes as we lounged in the river (literally). We've ridden our bikes all over town, gone to the beach club multiple times and taken a road trip to Santa Maria (elavation 2,000 feet) where it poured. First rain we have seen in a long time but none occured at our little town just went right overhead to the mountains. Our little town has not had rain since last September! Brought the ham radio up from the boat and installed an antenna on our landlord's roof (they're cool and think the radio that talks to the whole world is cool). We've watched a bunch of movies (pirated of course, I don't think I've ever seen a real DVD for sale) and in gennral just goofed and been lazy. Looking forward to our daughter Vanessa and grandson Benjamin coming for a visit. They will be here June 8th through the 16th. We've been busy finding cool places to take 'em. We have also been looking to move up to Santa Maria maybe in July (it's cooler), and take a trip down to Yucatan to see some Myan ruins! More later

Only in Mexico
more hot 90plus/rain in the mountains now
05/15/2012, Hualtuco

Only in Mexico

We have long talked about doing a blog about things we have seen and you would only see in Mexico!!!!!!!!!!!

1. Garbage: This was the first thing that hit us as we began this adventure. What at first seemed hard to understand now makes sense. If you grew up seeing garbage everwhere you would not see it as being offensive it would just be normal, no big deal. In many places (tourist locations) signs are posted to not litter and this seems to be effective.

2. Bathrooms (Bano's): It was a bit shocking at first to walk into a bathroom that for one was filthy, toilet seat missing, no toilet paper, used toilet paper in a garbage pail (or the floor) and finally having to get a bucket of water as you come in to pour in the toilet to flush it. We have Bano's but these are few and far between. Public restrooms are extremely rare and almost always at a fee albeit only 5 pesos (30 cents). Going out requires some advance planning expeically for Leiann.

Buses and Taxi's: This a long subject so I'll try to be brief. First taxi's in Mexico are very cheap. But this comes at price (no pun intended). Some have holes in the floor, most are small ( VW bug or Nissan Sentra). Tires often bald, seatbelts rarely used or present. Plentiful, one needs only stand at curb a few minutes and one will come along. Actually when you walk down the street taxi's will honk at you to see if you want a ride, some buses do this also. Speaking of buses, again very cheap (6-9 pesos). Buses come in three basic varities: Very nice and air conditioned, Ok and no air and the most common that are used by the locals, UGLY in poor repair, independently owned. The latter will have names of destinations written with white shoe polish, difficult to make out at first (we have gotten much better). We get a kick out of riding the beater buses as it puts us with the "people", usually we are the only gringo's.

4. Sidewalks:Very early on we figured out that there must not be many lawyers in Mexico. We later found out that the recovery of lawsuits is limited to $800 and the lawyers gets most of that. It was quite a change from the US. You have to constantly watch your step, as the side walks often don't match height from one property to the next business. Or they may be a hole with or with out a plywood lid! I have seen small tree's growing in the sidewalk, so it is just cut off not quite below grade. Or because of poor construction methods or earth quakes, sidewalks are often cracked, buckled and broken with edges sticking up to trip on. We have learned to look down just like the locals do.

5. Shops: On the average block of businesses you will find 2-3 Tiendas (small grocery store) ,1-2 salons, a couple of launderies, meat store, clothing shop selling skin tight pants (modeled by manicans on the sidewalk), lots of lingeree shop's, a couple resturants or toco stands and a couple DVD salesmen (of course of the pirate variety.

6. Bootlegger on Burro: We were walking on a trail and what do we see? Yes, this guy who looks like the Folger's Juan Valdez coming down the trail. Asked him what do you have in your bags, fruit? He pulls out a white plastic jug, smiles with his few teeth and says No Ricilla! Ricilla is the local bootlegger tequila brew. Not to mention he had his trusty machete with him which we later found to be common, even on a bus!

7.Loud music and street noise: We soon learned that the locals love music and seem unable to listen to it at low volume. This becomes a problem at times when we have to anchor close to shore in town or in some of the marina's. Now in the casa it's something else. The place we have now is very quiet (compared to our place in san Blas, which could have music until 3am) except in the mornings when we wake at 8am sharp to multiple vehicles making lots of noise. It is common in Mexico for people to make a living driving around with speakers on the roof annoucing something for a fee. This goes on all day at full volume and is normal. In addition to the gas trucks (propane) that come around all day with the same speaker arrangement you have the water trucks (selling 5 gallon jug's), tortilla guy, the tamale guy, more tortilla guys. I guess you have to be here. Did I mention it is quite common for the neighbors to have roosters who start their salute at 5am?

8.Dichotomy: I suppose this will not be an only in Mexico, but I can never quite get over it. One will be walking next to homes jammed together dirt ,floors subsistence living yet, will have a satellite dish on the roof and it's owner will have a cell phone . Multi-million dollar homes and businesses next to these subsistance dwellings. Very nice clean tourist areas next to garbage strewn empty lots. Buildings either never finished or in slow motion construction. Speaking of construction another sight one sees constantly is this unfinished construction. Most buildings have re-bar sticking up from the roofs, we were later told taxes do not have to be paid until a building is finished, 'nough said. In the mist of this are palm trees, banana plants, flowers and other beautiful plants. Not to mention colorful costumes, Mariachi bands, lovely weather and happy kids running around with smiles.

9. Festivals: It may seem that some of the above is demeaning to the Mexican people, it's simply what we have observed. But in addition to these norms for down here we have seen many positives. It seems that two weeks can't go by that there is not some festival. Day of the dead, Relolution day, Christmas, New Year's, King's Day, Valentines, Carnivale, Good Friday, Holy Week, Easter, Cinco De Mayo, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day and Children's Day. I told Leiann I think they just make em up for an excuse for another party. Many of these involve large gatherings (like at the whole town at the square), fire works (the unsafe and insane variety), music, music, Cerveza, cerveza, food and more food, late into the night.

10. Food: Tamale wrapped in banna leaves. Goat tamales, Iguana tamales, Iguana or goat taco's. Rice water, Jamaica water, Limon water (not lemanade) and several other "water's" you'll see the locals drink. Papa's Locas (twice baked potato, arrcahera meat, la crema, cheeze, salsa. Of course lot's of octopus, shrimp, fish and lobster. Tripe, brains, pig with head attached (the man of the house eats the eye's). Fish deep fried fish with head attached. Most candy has very hot chilies in them. Shaved ice with chilie sauce. And many things that we have to identify.

Final destination!
hot hot and more hot 90plus
05/09/2012, Hualtuco

Our trip from Acapulco was uneventful and pleasant, our last two overnights at sea for the season. Ok there was that one unpleasant moment when Leiann got sick and we decided to go into Puerto Escondido for the night. It seems strange to be thinking of moving off Chrysalis for 5-6 months! We were at the entrance to the harbor at 4am in the dark, so we stood off until day light. Going into an unknown harbor in the dark is something I try to avoid, although sometimes it can't be avoided. We got tied up at the marina, happy to find nice new and clean floating docks. In many places in the world floating docks are not used, rather concrete quays that the boat has to be protected from as the tide rises and falls. We checked in and we again we're happy to find the daily rate for us to be $24 a day! After getting checked in we caught a taxi to town only about a mile a way but we did not know how to get there and the taxi's in Huatulco are flat rate 25 pesos ($2). We found the town square (our routine) and found a nice little place with side walk seating. Another day in paradise. After brunch we walked around the little town, got the lay of the land, enjoyed the square and then returned to our little boat. The next day the plan was to work on getting the boat out of the water for hurricane season. I had called down from Zee-Wat with an interpertor trying to determine if one could get hauled out in Huatulco. I knew they had a dry dock yard and I had been told that there was some guy with a large trailer who could haul you out, that's all I knew. So we called the marina and asked about the guy with the trailer. Got his number and called him and the interpreter said he wanted 24,000 pesos ($2,000) to haul us out, let us use his jacks and put us back in the water in the fall. This was outrageous. We paid $600 to be hauled and put back into the water and stored for a month(including jacks). I thought maybe it was a language issue. So I asked for a price to just pull us out, reply $1000! When I planned on hauling out for the year I sure didn't plan on this. I figured I would check out hauling out in Acapulco (turned out to be even more expensive). As a back up I knew I could go back to Zee-Wat and put the boat in the Marina for $360 a month and it would be relatively safe from hurricane. Still I thought I could come up with something in Huatulco. I went to talk to the guy with the big trailer after we got there. I told him that I could not afford $2000 and that I had built my own trailer at home and maybe I would need to do this here. We left each other and he said he would check on a few things and I said I would do the same. The next day we looked all over for a trailer I could buy and modify. The following day I again went to talk to the guy (Arcadio). He said to come look at a trailer with him. At his shop he had a Albin Vega 28 on an old trailer that he said he had inherited at the marina. He asked if I thought my boat would fit on it. I told him it would. He agreed to take his boat off the trailer and put my boat on it for 5 months and put back into the water all for 6,000 pesos ($550). I said deal. I could not put a trailer together for that. So two days later we worked for three hours getting Chrysalis out of the water on this rickety old trailer pulled by a tractor with a long chain so the trailer could get far enough into the water to get under the keel. Slowly we got her to her spot in dry dock and got her blocked up securely. I wanted to get the boat emptied out so I could fumigate it every month to keep the la cucarachas out and also to prevent mold and mildow during the rainy season. So over the last two weeks we have been making taxi trips to and from the boat. Luckily our apartment is large and we have room to put everything in the spare bedroom. As you can see in the photo Leiann is happy to be able to hang at the nearby beach club pool. We look forward to being able to do some inland exploring during hurricane season and our daughter and grandson will visit us in June!!!!!!!!!! Check out our photo gallery of Hautulco on the river with the locals and at the Cico De Mayo parade. More later.

05/10/2012 | Vicky
I wondered if the grandson would be visiting when I saw the passport photo of him! How exciting to have them visit!! And Dave, you are absolutely AMAZING at your resourcefulness!
05/14/2012 | Kevin Peterson
Never take 'it will cost XXX pesos' at face value...good job Dave!

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